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A treasure trove

Meetings & Incentives
Engadin

The Engadin, where expectations are surpassed

Leo Blättler’s company The St. Moritz Experience AG stands for individual and exclusive events that promise unforgettable experiences for guests from all over the world. We met up with the incentive pioneer and trendsetter from the Engadin, and asked him why our region is such a hit with discerning company bosses and stressed-out managers.

Leo Blättler’s company The St. Moritz Experience AG stands for individual and exclusive events that promise unforgettable experiences for guests from all over the world.

We met up with the incentive pioneer and trendsetter from the Engadin, and asked him why our region is such a hit with discerning company bosses and stressed-out managers.

From hotel manager, head chef, ski instructor and mountain guide to leading incentive expert – can you tell us a little about your unusual career path?

At first glance these jobs seem very distant from one another, but that is misleading. There was always a logical connection. Already as a lad I loved exploring nature, but I also earned some money working as a kitchen boy. I enjoyed that so much I decided to become a chef. During my training I continued to spend a lot of time in the mountains, and also later worked at top mountain hotels, so I was able to qualify as a ski instructor and as a mountain guide as well. But all these experiences are a tremendous advantage in my current occupation – whether it’s a case of me cooking personally for my clients, or my knowing exactly what I can expect from my hotel partners and what they can expect from me.

Leo Blättler
Why is the Engadin such a special location for incentive events?
It’s just a real treasure trove, full of gems of all kinds. The options for outdoor activities for our guests are vast! We also have and have had guests with tremendous potential: financially powerful, with international influence, very demanding and with high expectations.
Do you remember your first client? What did you do for them that crossed the threshold from the usual to the exceptional?
You never forget your first client, because they show you something crucial: Am I convinced by what I do? Do I have the experience and the talent to provide the client with a suitable challenge and thrill them? Our “guinea pig” was an extremely wealthy commodity trader who wanted to experience “something really special” with his family. For me, that meant one thing: “outdoor adventure!” His reaction was guarded: “What does that mean, exactly?” I had a hike of about 2-3 hours in mind, but I reassured him: “An hour’s walk, that's it.” At the end of the hike, he came up to me, panting: “Leo, you damn liar! That was 2½ hours!” I replied calmly: “Yes, I had no idea you walked so slowly...” You need to know exactly what kind of humour the client appreciates and how it is possible for them to surprise themselves and be surprised by others. Of course we also did that little bit extra in terms of service: he liked to be updated about the price of gold every hour through the night, so we maintained constant radio contact with his company headquarters.
ice climbing
ice climbing
Was that the trigger for the launch of The St. Moritz Experience in 1987?
Not the only one, but easily one of the most important. We – that is, Peter Leitwyler, Leo Caminada and I – had long had excellent contacts with illustrious guests who loved doing snow sports in winter but in summer at most played golf now and again, and otherwise sat around not doing much. We wanted to change that, because boredom drives guests away. So we decided to show them all the Engadin has to offer.
What requirements do clients come to you with?
Filming and photographing in the mountains is an important sector for us. One of our first and still one of our biggest clients was Willy Bogner. During his daring filming sequences, I would have to decide between “Go!” or “We need to break it off – now!” I was also responsible for all the logistics and safety for two 007 films. Then there are the global companies from a huge range of sectors with totally different requirements. One may need a team bonding event for managers who have fallen out; another might like to do a product launch event with the media – one that wows the public, for sure, but also one that their grandchildren will still be talking about.
What makes your The St. Moritz Experience so special that it has been able to boost the image of the Engadin so much?
We set great store by personal contact. Internet, social media and smartphones are of course also important. But I can best convince a client and get them enthusiastic about a project when I am sitting opposite them, looking them in the eye.
What trends do you see in the incentives field?
I can see two great opportunities. First of all, I am convinced that canyoning can have a great future here. This combination of mountain sports and water sports is ideal for sporty people who want to experience something unusual: it’s the perfect thrill. The second trend would be “Back to nature”. Out in nature or in a simple mountain refuge, driven professionals quickly focus on a shared goal. Fake obligations fall by the wayside, because in nature you zero in on what is truly important. You gain a better overview of life again, and you concentrate on what really counts.
Carriage rides with St. Moritz Experience
Carriage rides with St. Moritz Experience

Information and booking

Convention Services
Alexandra Hüsler
T +41 81 830 08 15
mice@estm.ch